Greatest Jerks of the Silver Screen: Carter Burke from ALIENS (1986)

There have rarely been scumbags immortalized on the silver screen as slimy as Carter Burke, played by Paul Reiser.  Reiser, today a beloved comedian and star of the long running sitcom “Mad About You” (1992-99) said that after Aliens, people would furiously curse at him on the street.  Cast as a slimy company man, Burke dressed in irritating futuristic suits with no upper lapels, and always seemed to be sweating.  He was a really effective d-bag.

Burke "The Jerk" in person. Note the futuristic suit and the excessive perspiration.

His character is truly awesome.  In addition to “personally guaranteeing” to Ripley that their return to planet LV426 was strictly to kill the aliens and “not to study, not to bring back,” he plans to sabotage the surviving Colonial Marines’ sleep pods on their trip home, killing them all…in order to return the aliens to his company for study.  He deliberately releases two alien face-huggers into a room where Ripley and the 11-year-old Newt are sleeping, hoping to impregnate them both with alien embryos.  Finally, when dozens of aliens attack, he seals everyone out of what he considers a safe room, only to meet his gruesome and very satisfying end.  Carter Burke, I salute you, you horrible weasel!

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